Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies

Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies - made February 18, 2015 from Averie Cooks
The only thing that could get my one-track mind off my new brownie book, Extreme Brownies by Connie Weiss, is to try a brownie recipe from Averie Cooks, my go-to blog for fantastic recipes. In this case, I almost forgot I was meeting friends for dinner one night and didn’t have my usual stash of frozen cookie dough and individually wrapped brownies sitting in my freezer. I had pieces of the coconut sheet cake in the freezer but one of the friends I was meeting doesn’t like coconut so that was out as a give-away option.

But she does like chocolate and I had cream cheese and Oreos on hand so I pulled this recipe from my pinterest board. I normally don’t bake on a weeknight since I don’t get home until almost too late but I’ve been baking brownies for so long that it’s pretty quick for me to pull a batch together. I mixed this up, including chopping the Oreos, in the time it took for the oven to preheat. Throw it in, let it bake, and there was just enough time for it to cool enough to be covered before I headed to bed. 

The next morning, I cut it up, packaged it and was ready for our dinner that night. I was in a hurry so I only taste tested a sliver and whatever I wasn’t giving away I put in my freezer for my next emergency. I thought it tasted pretty good. The cream cheese layer was a mite difficult to spread, probably because I was working with cold cream cheese directly from the fridge and didn’t beat it into submission enough so I had to dollop in really small dollops to try and get decent coverage over the bottom brownie layer. I might’ve also underbaked this just a trifle, considering the cream cheese part was also gooey but if you like cheesecake-y, fudgy brownies, this is another great recipe from Averie’s blog. The Oreos were a nice touch to add some crunch but really, Oreos are typically a winner in any brownie. 
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe's 72% Pound Plus Bar)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee, optional but recommended
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional but recommended
pinch salt, optional and to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
15 Oreo Cookies, diced into 1/2-inch pieces, divided (I dice each Oreo into 4 to 6 pieces)

Cream Cheese Filling
8 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degreesF. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Brownies - In the top half of a double boiler set over hot water, melt the butter and chocolate, whisking until smooth and completely melted. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
  3. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, optional coffee, optional espresso granules, optional salt, and whisk vigorously to combine.
  4. Add the flour, most of the diced Oreos, reserving a small handful to be sprinkled on top, and stir until smooth and combined. Do not overmix,
  5. Turn half the batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula as necessary; set aside while you make the Cream Cheese Filling.
  6. Cream Cheese Filling - In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth and combined.
  7. Drop filling in small dollops over brownie base and smooth to create an even layer. 
  8. Turn out remaining brownie batter to cover cream cheese layer as much as possible. 
  9. Evenly sprinkle the reserved handful of Oreos over the top.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until center has just set and is no longer glossy. 
  11. Allow brownies to cool in pan on top of a wire rack for at least 2 hours. 

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